Olympic Silver Medalist Ron Morris Dies at 89

Ron Morris was the 1960 Olympic silver medalist in the pole vault. He graduated from Burroughs High in 1953.

Ron Morris, the 1953 Burroughs High graduate who went on to win a silver medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in the men’s pole vault, has died.

He was 89.

Morris, who set the national high school record in the event when he was at Burroughs, was a lifelong fixture in the Burbank community.

He owned the local business OnTrack, which manufactured and sold track and field equipment to schools across the nation, from 1978 until 2020.

Morris set the national high school record by going 13 feet, 11 1/2 inches in 1953.

Morris won the CIF Southern Section title as a junior going 13-3. He won the state title in both his junior and senior years, going 13-3 3/4 and 13-9 1/8 respectively.

After high school, Morris competed for the University of Southern California, where he was a two-time All-American and set the Trojans school record.

In 1956, he became just the sixth pole vaulter in history to clear the 15-foot barrier.

Following his college days, he competed professionally and was ranked in the top 10 in the world for ten years.

In the Olympics, Morris jumped 4.6 meters, equivalent to 15-9 1/4. Fellow American Don Bragg won the gold by jumping 4.7 meters.

In 1962, Morris successfully transitioned from a steel to a fiberglass pole and was ranked the best in the world for that year.

As technology with poles improved, Morris was eventually able to go as high as 16-6 in 1966.

Morris also coached at Cal State Los Angeles from 1960 until 1978, serving as head coach from 1968 to 1975.

He was voted the second best pole vaulter of all-time in 1978 by the publication Track and Field News.